Monday, February 1, 2010

File Reading, Part I

Last week, I said I would write about file reading, and I will break it up into six areas. The first thing we generally see during the review of the files is how a student spends their time outside of the classroom. As such, lets talk a little bit about how we look at an applicant's commitment to activities, service, family and/or leadership areas. Remember, this is one of six areas I will talk about, so don't get too focused or hung up on just this area.

The first thing you should know is that we value quality over quantity. What we are looking for is somewhat about the range of what a person does, but more so the depth of their involvement. I see far too many applicants get involved with multiple clubs or organizations in their junior year after the light comes on (or the parent's voice starts to be heard) about being involved. Suddenly a student is involved in 7 different groups, from the Green Campus club to the knitting for kids group. Anything and everything gets thrown in.

What we are really looking at is what things you have committed to during your high school years, both in time and in consistency. I am much more impressed with a student who does three things, let's say scouting, cross-country and Habitat for Humanity, growing in ability and responsibility each year, than a student who bounces from group to group, having ten areas of involvement, but not staying with any one of them. This isn't to say that we don't look at times where a student gets involved in a range of activities to find their niche, but we do focus on dedication and commitment.

Another thing to look at is that I listed family and service. Two years ago, I read a file where the applicant worked 35-40 hours a week (supervising 15 people!), and was the main bread-winner for a family of four. He was not working simply to afford movie tickets or gas money, but to put food on the table and keep the electricity on in the house. While he had limited involvement in clubs, he was dedicated to his family and his job. It comes down to looking at a student in context within his/her situation, and what is available or expected within their situation.

We suggest that you look at your time spent outside of the classroom and let us know what you are passionate about and active in. Don't think that just because it is not a "school" club, that you should not list it. If you play the violin, are active in missions with a community group, have the lead in a community theater production, etc, tell us about it. The worst thing you can do is leave a section blank just because you don't think we would want to know about "X". We will then look at what activities you have chosen to participate in over the last 4+ years, what leadership roles you have taken on, and  what type of time commitment you have put into these areas.

So go find the activity you are passionate about, have a great day, and Go Dawgs!

12 comments:

  1. I had SAT scores sent electronically from the testing agency on 1/29. I double checked my information, ssn, name etc. and it is all correct. When can I expect to see that it has been received on my status?

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  2. do you guys look at things tied into religion? because I have taught Sunday school for three years and Im a member of my church's youth group and we have done service projects in the community.

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  3. AnonI: UGA does not control when the scores will get to us, but instead you and the College Board control this situation. We receive multiple score reports every week, and load them into our system generally within 2 days of getting the scores. In fact, we loaded in some SAT and ACT scores this afternoon. But it really depends on how quickly the testing agency says they will get them to the college. First, make sure that your full name and SSN are on the score report. Second, see what the College Board said about delivery.

    AnonII: Yes, we will look at what a student does with a religious group, as it is a part of your life and something in which you are active and may show leadership. It could be FCA, BBYO, a non-denominational group, teaching a class at your place of worship, etc. We also see a number of students who help their community through set programs or mission trips through these groups.

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  4. I have a question that is more about the process, rather than what you look for when files are reviewed. When you read a file for the first time, do you read it just once, think about it, put it in a pile of "yes," "no," or "maybe," and then re-read those files again throughout February and March while comparing them to the applicant pool? Or do you read a file thoroughly and make a decision (based on UGA's standards and not compared to other applicants), and that decision is final and left alone until you send out the letters in late March?

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  5. Anon: We generally have a double-read system (at times it is read by three people), and we evaluate the the students in all the areas I am going over, and then give an overall rating. It is not a rating of yes/no/maybe, but a review with a final evaluation that fits within a ratings scale (kind of like a gymnastics meet or a figure skating event, but without making you do triple axles or front handsprings).

    At the end of the review process, after we have finally completed the file reading season, we will then look at the applicant pool, the overall number of students we can admit, and the number of students we have already admitted. We will then make decisions about admit, deny and wait-list based upon our file reading evaluations and our overall situation.

    I hope this explains it, and also shows why the overall applicant pool impacts who we admit and what they are like.

    If you were to hire someone for a job, and interviewed 10 people, most likely you would not make piles of hire/don't hire/maybe. You would evaluate each person, determine their strengths and weaknesses and evaluate them overall, and then decide on a hire after all interviews are done. Same sort of idea.

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  6. I have a question about how many students will get an offer during RD. After reading the press release from 12/11/09, I see that 6000 students were offered early admission. The article also states that the target enrollment for Fall freshman class will be around 4800. How many of the 6000 students have committed to UGA from the EA? If 5000 students have committed to UGA before you finish with RD, does that mean there will be no room for any of the RD students? With the economy being where it is today, I'm sure many students will want to stay in Georgia to receive the HOPE and in-state tuition. Unfortunately, it seems like this could actually happen.....right?

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  7. Betty: While I understand your concern, there is no way that 5,000 out of the 6,000 EA admits would say yes to us. Last year, we admitted around 9,400 freshman to enroll about 4,800, and we expect to be at about the same number this year (rough estimate). I hope this calms your fears.

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  8. So if this year is in fact similar to last year....you believe that you will send out around 3400 RD admitted in late March? Not trying to be a pest, just want my daughter to be realistic and to have a good backup plan. Thanks for your insight!!

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  9. Betty: No, I expect that we will have over 1,000 decisions released in late Feb (do a search of timelines to understand our three decision release dates), and then we will review how many deposits we have received by mid-March to understand how things are going as far as possible enrollment numbers. We will then determine the late March decisions, and I expect overall admits to be about 9,000-9,400 (rough expectation but based upon 5+ years of history).

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  10. these decisions that will come in late february, are they admit only or admits and deniles?

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  11. how does the process of the waiting list work and how are people chosen from the waiting list.

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  12. AnonI: The February group will only be admits, and it is for complete (make sure all of your materials are here!) applicants who meet EA admission levels.

    AnonII: The waiting list is based on our overall holistic review, and it is a group of applicants that are slightly below the admit range but strong enough that if we have space, we would like to be able to contact them about an admission offer.

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